I've spent years troubleshooting computer problems with all different programs like this and have firmly decided: I will never use Norton products again!
I used this software (and later versions) for a few years before I tried other software. I never realised how system intensive this thing was! It uses up far too much processing power, far too much RAM, and way too much hard drive space. Why PAY for something that is such a system drain when you can use freeware programs and built in Windows tools and get the same result without slowing Windows down?
What it does, it does fairly well... not excellent mind you, but ok.
Its best feature by far is that it is an all in one product with an easy to use interface. Once you become even a little computer literate you realise that you've been wasting your money all along and could have had a faster and smoother running system using alternative software.
System works is great and finding and (more importantly) fixing errors on your PC. I was having loads of problems with my PC crashing, slowing down, refusing to load windows properly, etc. so I decided to give this a whirl. I decided to make sure my PC was running in tip-top condition by formatting my hard drive, re-installing Windows and starting again from scratch. After installing Windows 98 SE I loaded up System Works and was amazed to find that it actually reported errors with my registry! Amazing - I had done nothing but install Windows and already my system had errors - fortunately System Works knew what do to and sorted my registry out. Either Norton knows more about Windows than Microsoft, or Norton reports errors that aren't really errors, or Windows 98 just installs itself really badly? Who knows?... Once installed System Works performs a whole host of system checks - monitors and repairs hard drive errors, checks and fixes registry problems, monitors installation of programs, re-claims wasted disk space by deleting temporary files, protects your recycle bin, completely wipes free disk space, and comes with Norton Anti-Virus to keep your system virus-free. By default system Works runs a lot of these facilites all the time - contsantly monitoring your PC to report when your hard drive needs defragging (via Norton's superior version - not the Windows version), monitoring your system for viruses, and checking and downloading anti-virus updates. I'll elaborate on my 3 main advantages and disadvantages: 1. Easily customised: System Works is very easy to use, and very easy to configure just how you need it. Once you have installed your applications it is easy to turn off the CleanSweep monitor, and if you want to monitor all your hard drives (or partitions) you can easily add the checks. This is very easy to do - I have hardly had to refer to the manual at all. 2. Good Updates via the We
b: The Live Update feature allows you to download updates and upgrades free of charge. The Anti-Virus definitions are downloaded automatically in the background, but LiveUpdate allows you to actually get updates for the other applications contained in the package. These are quickly downloaded and installed, although as with most updates you have to re-boot for them to take affect. 3. Decent prices available. Most on-line retailers are knocking this out at about £60 which I thought was a little expensive. However, they had it for £50 in PC-World, and mine was marked up at £40 as the box was crushed at one corner (who needs the box?). QVC often have it on for about £40 but it sells out quickly at that price! The disdvantages.. 1. Not all updates are free. After a year you have to start paying for updates - fair enough I guess but they don't tell you how much they are. I know pricing could change so it may be out of date but they could give an indication of current prices, and likely costs when your 12 months runs out. 2. System/Resources hit if you run all monitors, etc. The standard installation starts a lot of monitors running to keep an eye on your system. I'm not sure if you absolutely have to have them all running all the time. I'd advise you to check what it is monitoring and disable anything you don't really need. 3. It's no panacea. I don't think any software like this could ever be perfect. I still have the odd system crash, and System Works itself has even gone belly up on a few occassions. Still, my system is better than before so it was worth it - just don't expect it to stop every problem. Overall it is well worth it, especially at £40. My system is now pretty stable with hardly any of my previous problems and crashes. In fact my system is now so stable that I've disabled most of the always-on monitoring and just do a Live Update check and a one-button fu
ll system check every weekend. This last one is a great feature that lets you click one button and System Works goes off and does all its major checks - reporting the number and type of errors - then you click another button to fix them (so I guess they should have really called it two-click checking!). You can get 30-day free trials of the 3 components to the System Works suite (Anti-Virus, Utilitires, and Clean Sweep) so you can always try before you buy to see for yourself just how many errors it can detect and repair.
This piece of software is excellent value. Firstly, the disk management systems truely keep your system running at top spec - you're also able to fully custom them to your needs. They get rid of clutter in the quickest way possible. No more searching through files and folders to see what you want to get rid of. Secondly, is the Anti-Virus, atomatically updates itself for you - so no searching websites for updated definitions. It also recives definitions on a regular basis - unlike others. I could go on listing things here, but . . . Finally - its user friendly, looks nice and is glitch free. Overall, it is the best all round package to keep your system up and running. Support from the symantec site and staff is also excellent. There is an upgrade version also available.
As a great fan of Norton products for many years and now using Windows 2000 this was an important upgrade (I thought) for me. In W2000 most of the old utilities tools are still there but not all. eg no crashguard (thank goodness). You get NAV, N utilities and Cleansweep. I have to be honest I find cleansweep the strangest of the apps. The burden it places on the computer is not inconsiderable and I find it is counter productive to have it running all the time. Having also used Ontrack there are a number of differences that make a choice between the two difficult. Ontrack seems to have more tools (I particularly like the ability to easily change the way the system starts logo, hidden startup programs etc). As far as a choice is concerned I would have to sit on the fence and say horses for courses. Check out both products and choose.
Norton SystemWorks is a highly comprehensive suite of programs to protect your computer and ensure it is running at its best. I am a big fan of Norton products, having tried the full range of utilities over the years, and find it has the edge on McAfee, which is its leading rival. Basically, you are getting a number of Norton's standalone products bundled together. However, the products are all quality programs in their own right: Norton Utilities, Norton Cleansweep, Norton Antivirus and the new Symantec Web. Let's look at each in turn. Norton Utilities provides a suite of mini-programs which check your computer for any problems with hardware and software, that may cause your computer to fail. It will then attempt to fix thee problems, or offer solutions. SpeedDisk acts as a defragmenter, to help speed up your hard drive by moving all the programs that you use most often to the beginning of the disk, and putting any bits that may be scattered around back together again. System Doctor checks your hardware, and keeps an eye on its performance, alerting you to any problems it comes up with, for instance if memory is running low. Un Erase Wizard lets you attempt to recover documents that you accidentally deleted, even when you have emptied the Recycle Bin. It does this by changing the way the recycle bin works, replacing it with a new icon showing it is protected by Norton. Erased items are kept for a week in case you decide you need it back. I have used this with a number of word processing documents and it works great. Win Doctor checks windows for things like lost shortcuts, or registry problems. When I first run it, it picked up over 100 problems with my system, but then proceeded to fix all of them. WipeInfo will permanently shred documents so they cannot be found again. This is useful for business or private correspondence that you no longer wish to keep, but you don't
want anyone else to be able to recover them and read them. Paranoid or what? Image creates a ghost image of your system in case you need to reinstall. This is similar to the System Restore feature in Windows Me. Finally Diagnostic checks all your hardware for configuration problems, or problems with drivers, settings etc. Phew, very comprehensive. All these programs can be set to check your system continuously through while you are working, and when it detects a problem, it will let you know by displaying an alert on the desktop. It does pop up with minor problems every so often, such as lost shortcuts. Norton Antivirus is an excellent virus checking program that works in the background continually monitoring your downloads and file accesses to see if any virus is present. It can be set to check your email before you read it, and any viruses it does detect can be put into a protected area of the hard drive known as quarantine, or just deleted from your system. Cleansweep is an uninstall utility that attempts to uninstall any program you do not want anymore, without leaving behind any little bits that sometimes happens if you use Windows own Add/Remove programs option. It will however do much more. For instance, it can clear more space on your hard drive by removing unwanted files, finds duplicate files that can be safely deleted and so forth. A protection system prevents you from removing by accident any files that is important. Finally, there are a range of online services provided by Norton that you can access, such as a virtual hard drive on the net where you upload important files for safe keeping. You can also test your system to make sure it is secure from viruses and hackers. The separate programs all integrate superbly into just one small icon in your taskbar. They are very comprehensive and easy to use, and all the programs can be accessed form the one screen that appears when you click on the
SystemWorks icon. Even better, if you have other Norton programs (for instance, I use Norton Internet Security) then they are also integrated into the one-stop shop. The program features a quick to use one button check up where by clicking the one button, SystemWorks will perform a whole range of checks to make sure your system is working to its best. This works superbly - when I first tried it, the program found over 100 problems, which it then fixed automatically. However, now it only comes up with the odd one or two problems now and then. All this, together with an internet auto update which keeps all the programs, and your virus files up to date, make this a superb program that keeps your system working like an ox, for the price of £59.99 for Win 95, 95 Me or 2000. Great stuff! P.S. See comments for info on a cheaper upgrade version!